MANATEE- On Tuesday, the Manatee County School Referendum is on the ballot. District leaders say the funding is making a difference in students’ lives. The Referendum is funding an extra half hour of school time to students every day.

“If you were to start your child in first grade and go all the way through to 12th grade,” Deputy Superintendent Doug Wagner said. “You actually would have achieved an extra year of education.”

3rd Grade Teacher Kathleen Lyons says it’s made a big difference for math lessons.

“We would be digging out from yesterday,” Lyons said. “Yesterday we still were not understanding the lesson, lots of notes from home, lots of parents were like circling the homework saying please review this.”

With an extra 30 min there is time for more enrichment.

“Because it’s often in the last 30 minutes where I’m sending home the homework and they’re reviewing it that that click happens,” Lyons said. “And the kids start saying I’m getting this, now I understand it.”

 And that understanding is showing beyond the classroom.

“Student achievement is up,” Wagner said. “We’ve moved from 33 in the State, remember there are 67 school districts so we’ve moved from 33 to 23.”

Deputy Superintendent Doug Wagner says the referendum helps the district stay competitive.

“Pinellas and Sarasota County have had this additional tax, this additional referendum for over 20 years,” Wagner said. “So they’ve been able  Tom to offer higher wages to their instructional staff and Manatee County needs to do the same.”

“I have been hearing a lot of teachers say if this doesn’t pass I don’t know that I’ll stay,” Lyons said. “I’ve been hearing it around a lot.”

If this referendum passes, Manatee County Schools is planning to put more money into arts education.